Griquas fight back to dethrone Kings
A late try from replacement hooker Simon Westraadt saw Griquas snatch a dramatic 30-27 victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
A late try from replacement hooker Simon Westraadt saw Griquas snatch a dramatic 30-27 victory over the Southern Kings in their pre-season outing in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
The result is a huge dent in the tournament newcomers' Super Rugby aspirations 10 days out from their debut.
This loss follows unimpressive victories by the Kings over the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (28-12), an SWD Franchise XV (29-13), as well as a 31-41 loss to the Lions last weekend.
Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons played down the final score, saying these were always going to be "warm-up games" and that it was never about the result.
He added that the positives he will take from the game are the performance of imports like Steven Sykes and Demetri Catrakilis, while captain Luke Watson came through his first game after a five-month injury lay-off.
Solomons admitted his team again "battled in the line-outs" - which was also the case in earlier matches - and didn't have enough possession.
The Kings boss said that going forward they will analyse the pre-season games and then make a call on what the best team will be to take on the Western Force in their season opened in PE next Saturday.
"We can't take anything away from Griquas, they were simply better than us," Solomons added.
Tries from captain Luke Watson and speedy wing Sergeal Petersen saw the Super Rugby outfit build up a comfortable 17-3 lead, but Griquas fought back to narrow the gap to 20-16 at half-time.
The Kings were awarded a penalty try just after the break to stretch their lead to 27-16, but Griquas struck back when flyhalf Burton Francis converted his own try to set up a tense finish to the match.
Griquas made a number of changes towards the end of the game and the Kings were forced to defend their line.
Griquas continued to apply the pressure and it finally told when a driving maul saw Westraadt go over for the late try which clinched victory for the visitors.
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Watson, Peterson, penalty try
Cons: Catrakilis 3
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Tries: Nepgen, Francis, Westraadt
Cons: Francis 3
Pens: Francis 3
Southern Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornel du Preez , 5 Steve Sykes, 4 David Bulbring, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements - from: Edgar Marutlulle, BG Uys, Jaco Engels, Daniel Adongo, Devin Oosthuizen, Nicolas Vergallo, George Whitehead, Hadleigh Parkes, Norman Nelson, Johan Herbst.
Griquas: 15 Richard Lawson, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 PJ Vermeulen, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Deon Carney, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Brummer Badenhorst, 2 Matt Dobson, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Eugene Butterworth, 18 Janro van Niekerk, 19 Joubert Horn, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marnus Hugo, 22 Jacques Coetzee, 23 Walter Venter, 24 Francois Brummer.
Referee: Marius Jonker